Back in the 2008 election, Religious Right leader James Dobson posted a (IMO shameful) "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America." Here's how Dobson himself explains it in the letter's opening.
What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected? The most reliable way of predicting people’s future actions is by looking at their past actions. [...] http://www.wnd.com/files/Focusletter.pdf
So here is a picture of the changes that are likely or at least very possible if Senator Obama is elected and the far-Left segments of the Democratic Party gain control of the White House, the Congress, and perhaps then the Supreme Court. The entire letter is written as a “What if?” exercise, but that does not make it empty speculation, because every future “event” described here is based on established legal and political trends that can be abundantly documented and that only need a “tipping point” such as the election of Senator Obama and a Democratic House and Senate to begin to put them into place.
What kind of predictions did this hypothetical citizen make? Gay marriage would be legal by Supreme Court decision - and bookstores carrying books from Christian publishers would be forced by LGBT groups to remove them from the stands. Home schooling is all but banned. Tel Aviv was levelled by an Iranian nuclear bomb and Israel teeters on the brink of annihilation.Religious groups that oppose homosexuality are no longer allowed on campus, and high schoolers can't do the See You at the Flag-pole thing anymore. Congress passed a law wiping out all restrictions to abortion, as well as conscience clauses for medical practitioners who didn't want to do them. It is now illegal to restrict sale of pornography to minors, the second amendment only applies to militias and not individuals, and the Boy Scouts disbanded because they'd be forced to "hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with younger boys." We got a single-payer health care plan, and people over eighty have almost no access to hospitals and doctors. Oh, and Iraq? We pulled out in April 2010 as promised, and in May al Qaida poured in and took over the country. "A Taliban-like oppression has taken over in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of “American sympathizers” have been labeled as traitors, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The number put to death may soon reach the millions."
Except, you know, it didn't happen like that at all.
Today it is October 1, 2012. I've just skimmed the letter, but I couldn't find a single point that unrolled the way they predicted - certainly not in the absolutist way they describe. I guess it's possible I missed something, since I only skimmed; do feel free to reread the letter yourself. That's why I posted the link. :-) The letter says it was written in October 2012, so I guess it's possible things could still go this badly, but if it does, the Supreme Court's got a heck of a month ahead of them.
I'm not posting this to beat up on the Christian Right, or the Right generally. But I'm sure there are emails being forwarded with the same apocalyptic tone, though likely not as documented. I just thought it would be useful to look back at what people thought America would look like today, if we elected the wrong candidate. If you find yourself this scared about America's future if we elect "the wrong guy," maybe think on this. Politics matter, and I definitely think we'd be better under Obama than under Romney. The current GOP scares me in a lot of ways, frankly. But if "the wrong guy" wins, the earth will still spin, the internet will still work, and life will go on.
Food for thought. Will a citizen from 2016 in Romney's (or Obama's) America look anything like the hellscape predicted by a lot of people on both sides? I really don't think so. And while we should still fight for the best America we can (whatever form we each think that takes), we should also take it down a notch.
ETA: Over at Patheos, the well-known atheist blogger Libby Anne has walked through many of the letter's claim
s and outlined where they fall apart. We're different people, so obviously we'll sometimes disagree on whether the state of the actual union is good or not. (Sometimes I do
agree!) But on the facts she's got it nailed. Do read her post if you're interested in this.